Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Part Four: The Manor Houses

The wealth that the Atlantic trade brought to the region in the 18th century encouraged the building of beautiful manor houses that also dot the countryside on high, dominating points. The Quinta da Boa Viagem, at Areosa, is linked to the period of the great maritime discoveries, for the very name (Good Voyage) recalls successful voyages to distant places. According to tradition, when vessels set sail from the port of Viana, they piously saluted the house and chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Good Voyage. In the baroque gardens there are two large lions of Fo, sculpted in granite that, according to Chinese tradition, protected the Emperor Fo-Hi and now mount guard at a fountain where the reclining figure of a woman represents idleness. The lions recall times when even trade relations brought about cultural exchanges. Nowadays, the quinta provides rural tourism accommodation as do many other lovely houses in the region such as Quinta dos Monteverde, Paço d’Anha, Quinta da Bouça d’Arques and Quinta do Ameal, where visitors from all over the world stay with the owner families and hear these and other stories.


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